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Verdict: If you’d much rather nap under the stars than in a four-star hotel, the REI Visa card might be the right rewards card for you. If you consider roughing it staying at a Days Inn instead of a Hyatt, then you’d probably be better off with a different card. The REI Visa card rewards you with high cash-back bonuses every time you charge items at an REI outdoors and camping store. If you’re a frequent shopper at these stores, you should earn big rewards quickly.
Overview: Like most store-affiliated rewards cards, the REI Visa card comes with a two-tiered rewards system, providing you with larger cash-back rewards for shopping at REI stores than at other locations. The card is only offered to REI members.
How This Card Works: Outside of its affiliation with REI, this card operates like a typical cash-back rewards card: The more you charge on the card, the more cash you’ll receive back, credited to your account, every quarter. If you use this card wisely, charging items at REI stores with it, you should be able to receive a large amount of cash back each quarter.
Travel and Shopping Benefits: You’ll receive a cash-back bonus of 5 percent of all REI store purchases you make with your REI Visa card. Your cash-back bonus will drop to a far less impressive 1 percent for all charges that you make at all other locations. You’ll also receive a $20 gift card from REI once you’re approved for this card.
Fees: The purchase interest rate on this card can be low or high, depending on your creditworthiness. The REI Visa card comes with rates ranging from 10.99 percent to 18.99 percent, depending on your credit score. There is no annual fee, and the other fees associated with the card are reasonable by industry standards. The returned-payment and late-fee penalties, for instance, come in at an industry standard $35. Cash advances cost either $5 or 4 percent of the advance amount, whichever amount is higher. This, too, is fairly standard.
Can earn significant rewards points if you shop regularly at REI stores.
Free $20 REI gift card upon approval.
Purchase interest rate can be low if you have a strong credit score.
You’ll earn rewards points slower if you shop at non-REI locations.
Interest rate can soar above 18 percent if you have bad credit score.
This card is only available to REI members.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.